Belief Dedication

West coast beatsmith Belief calls on some high calibre lyrical associates in Wordsworth and former schoolmate Murs to help bolster his debut LP release, Dedication. A California native who relocated to New York to get his vibe right at NYU, Belief’s musical style encompasses the formative laid back funkiness of his Westside roots while incorporating the eerie samples and seedy gutter sounds of sometimes Def Jux co-workers Aesop Rock and C-Rayz Walz. Unfortunately, Belief still has a little ways to go in finding a proper balance that both supports a vocalist and avoids getting mired in an overuse of his preferred grimy soundscape. On tracks like "Let’s Go” and "Goin Hard,” the producer has a habit of cluttering up the bottom end in a way that ends up bludgeoning the listener with splattered, slightly repetitive drums and bass combinations that, on the latter, overpower an already weak contribution by Walz. Instrumentally, Belief fares a little better — the album’s title track features a melancholic, smoothed out guitar line over skittery atmospherics that reveal the producer’s diversity. That said, a little more work would be needed to make this album come off as more than just a collection of water-testing experimentations. (Worker Bee)